Trip reports

Field Trip to Ardersier

Oystercatcher wading in shallow water
RSPB Image

Thursday, 11 October 2018

The forecast for our outing promised to be dry until late afternoon as 12 of us set off for Alturlie as our first point of call. Oystercatchers, curlews, carrion and hooded crows were busy pecking among the sea wrack with a couple of grey herons spaced along the edge of the incoming tide. Two greylag geese, as well as wigeon, gannet, common gull and cormorant were visible in the distance. Continuing along the coast road we spotted 8-10 goldeneye, a little grebe, and a solitary wigeon, unusual as they are gregarious and are commonly seen in large family groups.

We then set off for Ardersier taking a detour en route where a very active kestrel was wheeling around a large number of straw bales diving between them again and again only to resurface empty handed or empty beaked! Near Easter Dalziel Farm a pair of yellowhammer were as interested in us as we were of them and at that moment a large number of pink-footed geese swirled above us in a graceful arc and descended onto a nearby field just out of sight, probably a field of stubble which is their favourite.

Parking alongside the beach in Ardersier there were six rock pipits sitting on the posts of an old wooden breakwater. Lots of mallard and wigeon were paddling about in the shallows of the incoming tide, along with black-headed and greater black-backed gulls and seven redshank. Far out on the relatively calm water were nine red-breasted merganser and someone guillemots in the distance.

Then off to Fort George with a magpie, starling and blackbird seen en route. We were treated to a very extensive flotilla of eider duck just off the point and a curious seal poked his head out of the water from time to time. As we returned across the grass of the ramparts a large flock of chatty, restless, long-tailed tits sped off across the gorse, followed by a smaller flock of coal tits.

Nothing of note was spotted at Delnie beach so we set of for Loch Flemington as our final stop. We saw the usual species of coot, moorhen, little grebe, mallard, tufted duck, blue tit and lots of mute swans with cygnets towards the far bank which was an excellent finale to a most enjoyable outing. The total species count was 46.